It is possible that the black market which continues to exist inside Colorado’s fully legal marijuana industry could end up bringing the legal cannabis movement to a screeching halt.
Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman announced last Wednesday that a number of local law enforcement agencies, along with the DEA, recently brought down “the largest illegal marijuana trafficking ring bust in state history.”
The investigation, which was called “Operation Toker Poker,” resulted in the arrest of dozens of people, while others named in the indictment are still at large.
According to a report from the Denver Post, the criminal organization took in millions of dollars by growing marijuana in the shadows of the state’s taxed and regulated pot market, selling the product in a number of states where prohibition is still the rule.
“This case is a prime example that the black market for marijuana has not gone away since recreational marijuana was legalized in our state,” Coffman said.
Although marijuana legalization has been good for Colorado—the state continues to collect millions in tax revenue without enduring any of the apocalyptic happenings that officials believed would follow—the state has experienced some adversity in operating a legal marketplace while, at the same time, trying to silence the reverberations of the black market.
In addition to the latest bust, Colorado police agencies recently took down another large marijuana trafficking operation. Reports indicate that this outfit was very similar by design—it involved people growing weed in various parts of Colorado and then selling it in other states.
Although Colorado recently passed a law intended to eliminate the existence of large marijuana grow operations, officials say it is still too early to tell whether this revision in the system will solve the problem.
There is some concern that these criminal organizations may be causing trouble for those people involved in legitimate pot commerce.
That’s because interstate drug trafficking that begins in legal marijuana states is exactly the type of thing Attorney General Jeff Sessions needs to support a federal crackdown.
We already know that the Justice Department is conducting a review of federal marijuana policies, which is almost certain to bring about some changes in the way statewide legalization is allowed to proceed. After all, the Trump administration has not been too keen on maintaining any of the rules, memos or anything else put on the books during the days of Obama.
But if the marijuana review, which is supposed to be delivered to Sessions by the end of next month, contains definitive evidence that legal states are causing an increase in drug trafficking in areas of prohibition, the situation could quickly spiral into a calamity.